In this post, I will provide detailed graphs comparing electricity generation in the U.S. with a few key countries. I was motivated by a friend's question regarding how other countries are addressing their energy and environmental problems. In particular, are there countries who are using substantial amounts of energy from alternative sources, as part of a diverse energy portfolio?
Rather than selecting the "benchmark" countries based on their CO2 emissions per capita, I picked countries based on anecdotes I have heard in the past. Hopefully these are graphs you can use in your (slide) presentations. The bar graphs measure the amount of electricity (as measured by the % of total Gigawatts) from a particular energy source (horizontal axis). Data is from the International Energy Agency:
(To enlarge a particular image, click on it.) The above graph compares the U.S. with three, somewhat arbitrarily chosen, European & Asian countries:
- Germany is reputed to be the largest market for Solar PV products.
- Denmark has a reputation for being energy efficient and for using a lot of Wind Energy.
- France made a conscious decision in the early 1970s to support Nuclear Energy.
- China & India are the world's largest countries and fastest-growing economies.
- Japan is the second largest economy in the world, and has a reputation for being the among the most energy efficient countries.
In the graph below, we "zoom in" to highlight "alternative" sources of electricity. Note that "Other" includes Wind Energy:
Denmark generated 16% from (Wind and) "Other" sources. From the above graph, it is clear that, in terms of their use of alternative energy, Germany and Denmark are way ahead of the U.S., France and the three Asian countries. Besides (Wind and) Other sources, Denmark generates substantially more electricity from Biomass and Waste than the other countries. I was definitely expecting Japan to show stronger dependence on alternative energy sources, than the U.S.
By "zooming in" further, we see that Germany did generate a large amount of electricity from Solar PV/Thermal compared to the other countries:
Even in Germany, Solar Energy accounted for less than one-tenth of one percent of total electricity generation. While Germany is a large market for Solar PV, the U.S. is a larger market for promising Solar Thermal technologies. Given that Japan is another large market for Solar PV products, I have questions about the accuracy of the data for Japan.
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